Women & Gender & Science, Oh My!

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What have I been up to?

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on the topic of gender and STEM (Science Tech Engineering and Mathematics).

Aside from math, gender studies is one of the major subjects that I really enjoy. For those of you who may not know– gender studies has replaced the women’s studies departments at many colleges/universities. It is a study of both femininity and masculinity, as well as everything in between. One of the main ideas is that you cannot really talk about what it means to be a women without also talking about what it means to be a man and vice versa.

I am taking an intro gender studies course right now, and get to write my final research paper on a topic of my choice. Since gender studies is interdisciplinary, we were encouraged to focus on an area directly related to our other interests. Not surprisingly, I chose to look at the intersection between gender and math/science.

For some reason, when I began to think about what my thesis for this paper would be, I thought I wouldn’t actually be that interested in the subject of women and STEM… I was way wrong. I absolutely love the topic and am having a difficult time stopping my research so I can actually, you know, write my paper!

My paper is short– I’m analyzing a specific definition of “feminist science” that was given in an article we read for the class this semester– but I want to keep reading on all topics related to gender and science. It absolutely fascinates me.

Since I go to a women’s college, I don’t face day-to-day difficulties about my choice of major. But I know I have, and I will. Beginning my research for this paper has reminded me why I chose a women’s college in the first place and I am excited to continue learning about the topic.

Coincidentally (which worked out quite well for me), this week was “Science Week” at my college… which, at a woman’s college, really means “Women in Science Week.” As part of that, I was able to attend three different public lectures on the topic.

I will continue to blog and post in more detail about those lectures and my paper, but for now I’ll leave you with a quote from one of the professors I was able to hear speak:

“What is it like to be a woman in the sciences? Well, I haven’t done the control experiment! I look at the world through a woman’s eyes. I don’t know anything else.”

She made me laugh at that first part. :) She went on to tell us about some of her experiences of discrimination faced as a female scientist, but also just wanted us to know that she is who she is– she is a scientist and she loves it.

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